Friday, December 18, 2009

Social Enterprise - The movie!

Walker Systems Support was recently featured in a documentary entitled: Philanthropy - The Power of Giving. Want to know more about what makes Walker tick? Take a look (we are specifically featured in the third video link)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thank you for hope.
Last year it was cut from the budget
Ripped and left face down in a smeary November slush.
But it’s back.
Sitting quietly at our Thanksgiving table
Looking older and thinner, but sincere.
The prodigal son
The philandering spouse
We’re going to try again.

Thank you for the wakeup call.
The slap rattled my teeth and rippled through my psyche.
Wow – it stung.
Even knowing it was coming – (We all saw it coming)
It hurt.
Still, I prefer its bare knuckled thwack
To the dark growling whisper while we sang ever louder.
The pretending is past.

Thank you for the opportunity to lead.
Not as a toy soldier marching
But on my knees with a prayer
Knowing that to lead
One must serve.
And to serve
One must listen.
And when one listens
Truly listens
One learns.
This is a gift.

Thank you for time to give thanks
Celebrating assets not found on the books
Families & Friends
The kindness of strangers
The wheel of the seasons ever turning

Kate Emery
President, CEO
Walker Systems Support

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Would you help a co-worker by taking short pay?

When we assume that people are greedy and motivated only by money we devalue ourselves and our species. Just as scientists are discovering that animals are more empathetic than previously thought, we are also learning that survival depends as much on cooperation and communication as it does on being the fittest. So it shouldn't be surprising at all to learn how people reacted to the CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center when he wanted to discuss whether layoffs of lower level positions could be avoided by higher levels taking a paycut...

Isn't it time we stop telling ourselves we're less than we are and start creating a self-fulfilling prophesy by describing the best in us?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Take a break.... Please!

When you least think you can take a break - you probably need it most...

I recently got back from vacation and am still basking in the glow of increased productivity. My mind is clearer, my memory is back (mostly), and I'm just plain happier. It makes me wonder how we can make vacations mandatory.

And if you needed convincing... here's an article explaining why you need to plan your time off sooner rather than later, and that goes double in these wild times.

Start planning your vaction today!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Problem of Time

It is necessary to realize that technology itself is not the cause of our problem of [not having enough] time. Its influence on our lives is a result, not a cause -- the result of an unseen accelerating process taking place in ourselves, in our inner being. Whether we point to the effect of communication technology (such as e-mail) with its tyranny of instant communication; or to the computerization, and therefore the mentalization of so many human activities that previously required at least some participation of our physical presence; or to any of the other innumerable transformations of human life that are being brought about by the new technologies, the essential element to recognize is how much of what we call "progress" is accompanied by and measured by the fact that human beings need less and less conscious attention to perform their activities and lead their lives.

Read More

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Creative Cycle

It may be helpful to know that when you're feeling the least productive important things are happening below the surface. It's part of the creative process and it's all necessary. You can't crank it out at 110% 24/7. Here's the cycle as I see it:

Aspire - It starts here - with your dreams, aspirations, visions of where you want to go, what you want to create, or how you want to feel. Without aspirations you can still enjoy the experience, but you're not driving the bus.

Acquire - Going after means to the ultimate end, as well as the end itself. If I want to paint a masterpiece I need to acquire the technical skills to get there. It's the developmental piece of the cycle. Pulling the building blocks together.

Assimilate - This is the trickiest phase because it works best when it's out of sight and certainly out of our conscious control. It often feels the worst. We think we're doing nothing, and still worse it often feels like we've lost some ability. But things are happening - often very important things.

Apply - This is the happy stage when it all comes together. Sometimes it's scary in the sense that here's where the rubber meets the road, but when it all falls together it feels like you've harnessed the winds. It's where flow happens. You're riding the wave, on top of the world.

And then the cycle starts again. You can't stay in the last stage forever because you need to re-juice the process and that doesn't happen without a new round of aspiration...

So the next time you're feeling blocked and unproductive realize that the creative process continues, just below the surface, out of sight. Know that with time the cycle will turn again and you'll stake it to a new stage. In the mean time feed yourself, be patient and kind and stay aware, awake. You can't beat your way to the next stage but only wait in wonder until the time is right.

And know that the day will come when all that was stewing around in the pot of your unconscious mind will begin to bubble and boil up and over into the urge to DO something. Finally it's time to apply. To jump. To let go of the questions and doubt and act. Trust yourself and the creative process. Seize the day - harness the winds and know that while this too will pass, it's the gift you've been waiting for and if you tap into it, it can be your gift to the world.

Don't try to hold onto it, or to make it last because it won't and you can't. Celebrate the cycle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9 Ways to Build a Business of Character

Like raising children, building a business is equal parts skill, sweat and patience with a little luck tossed in to the mix. And the kind of business you grow, like the children you raise will be a reflection of your values and conscious choices you make along the way. You can build a business following the traditions of the old school, or you can forge a new kind of business that perhaps better reflects your values.

Read the entire article from The Hartford Business Journal

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Social Entrepreneurs at Davos

It may not be mainstream yet, but the appearance of so many Social Entrepreneurs at the World Economic Forum at Davos is a great thing. Read this article on who's showing up this year, and what types of contributions they're after.

Monday, August 24, 2009

OOM - Are you Out of Mana?

In World of Warcraft you must pay attention to your Mana. Being OOM is a dangerous condition because without it your character can not cast spells or heal itself. Ignore your Mana level and your health will soon suffer - death is the ultimate price you'll pay for not addressing the problem.

Over time rest will restore you, but there's no time for rest when you're on an epic quest! When that happens you must stop, sit and mana up with some special potion you've carried with you. And after a 20 second hiatus you are ready again, full of mana, to take on the monsters and bad guys of Azeroth and beyond.

It's such an important factor the game provides you with an indicator bar showing at all times the stats on your character's health and mana, and once the situation is critical a warning flashes. Time to stop and regas.

Would that we could each develop such a guage in real life. We could check on it from time to time, and it would issue a flashing warning if we dip below some critical threshold. What would your mana indicator be reading now?

And when you can't take a day or more to rest and recharge, what do you do? What helps you quickly regen when you're faced with the dreaded OOM?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Another world is not only possible, she's on her way..."

- Arundhati Roy

We need to be on the lookout of alternatives and lessons from economies very different from our own. In the very cash poor but satisfaction rich Mali a different kind of economy has been thriving for thousands of years.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Economists realize that we're not basically selfish!

As a parent I realize that I play a big role in how my son will come to define himself. I know when he does something less than shining it's important to label the behavior, not the child. When he's acting selfishly I call on his higher nature. We've all seen the sad results of people come to believe they are intrinsically "bad."

And yet as a society we have be surrounded by economic pundits telling us that in our hearts we are greedy and selfish. Is it surprising we got ourselves into the economic pickle we found ourselves in when the free market tells us that it's normal, everyone is doing it, and that it is ok - laudable even.

But wait... Economists are now uncovering the fact that rather than selfish greedy fools, we are actually mostly caring people who want what is fair and are willing to share. It's news worth sharing -

Thursday, July 16, 2009

17 ways to use a down economy to reconnect with your values

When the recent Friday storm hit, our power at home went out, sucking the energy out of our weekend routine. And while I was deliriously happy to see the electricity come back on 72 hours later, the weekend brought our family back in touch with our core values. We talked more. We went to bed early. We played outside. And when the power came back on I had a funny mix of emotions. I don’t want to lose touch with the slowness and stillness we had only just became reacquainted with...

Read the entire article on

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Integrity Under Pressure

When the competition gets fierce, the temptation is to get fierce back. All is fair in love and business right? Everyone else is doing it....

So when an employee's non-compete period is up, should we accept the offer to go after their contacts from a previous employer and competitor of ours? We've had a pretty miserable experience lately where some employees left (of their own free will) and started a competing business. They are going after our clients with a vengence and it hurts. For some odd reason we didn't have their non-compete agreements on file when they left (still trying to figure that one out!), and so they feel legally free to do what they're doing.

Should we play by these rules too? If it's not illegal is it ok? I want us to hold to a higher standard. If I wouldn't want it done to me, then I don't want us doing it to another company.

I believe the core of our company is our reputation and we've heard from many clients that our professionalism and integrity set us apart. We're grateful for their loyalty, and plan to continue earning that reputation... even when it hurts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This time, We won't Scare

A great op-ed piece by Nicholas Krisoff of the NY Times on the silly smear campaign being run to frighten us away from Universal Health.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Incentives Are Not Enough.--Barry Schwartz

When you incentivize everything, you de-moralize it, you take the moral dimensions out of it. Arguably, in the olden days, bankers wanted to make money, but they also wanted to serve clients and communities. What that means was that there was a certain way to proceed if you were a banker to make sure that people were not taking on more debt than they could handle, that people were putting away enough money so that when they retired they would be able to pay their mortgage and buy food and clothing ...

Nobody thinks that way anymore.When you rely on incentives, you undermine virtues. Then when you discover that you actually need people who want to do the right thing, those people don't exist because you've crushed anyone's desire to do the right thing with all these incentives. And if you bring in a new set of people to replace them -- virtuous, moral people who want to do the right thing -- and they're subjected to the same set of incentives, they're going to become just like the people they replaced.

I'm not talking about getting rid of incentives; people have to make a living. But people need to understand that rules and incentives aren't enough.... The more rules and incentives you have, the less wisdom you will have. There needs to be room left on the one hand to nurture in people the desire to do the right thing and on the other hand to give them the tools so that they'll know what the right thing is. This incredible pressure to increase payoffs is an obstacle to doing the right thing. You will never be able to create a system of incentives that rewards people for doing the right thing. The system of incentives may start out that way, but very quickly clever people will find ways to ... game it.

I think the first step toward achieving [a solution] is appreciating that the tools we currently use are not sufficient.... The step after that is to identify and acknowledge the existence of moral exemplars – if you like, moral heroes -- that the people you're training can aspire to emulate. And they don't have to be people who do extraordinary things. There are people who do small things that count as moral heroes. And then giving the people you're training the room both to improvise and to have room in their lives for wanting to do the right thing and not just the profitable thing.

--Barry Schwartz, on Practical Wisdom